I’ve had my fair share of cold, wet days on the river. They’re no fun at all, even if it’s just for a couple hours. With this in mind, the first thing I did when a buddy invited me on a shoulder-season river trip was pick up a dry-top. September in the mountain west is a flip of the coin. It could be 80 and sunny the whole week, or 40 and raining. To span the entire range of conditions, there aren’t many materials that do it better than Gore-Tex. That’s the primary build in the NRS Rev Gore-Tex Pro Dry Top—three layers of it, in fact.
At first, I was a bit worried by how thick and heavy the material was. Will this dry-top be sweaty and gross on those warmer days? My concerns were quickly put to rest on the river. Air temps the first day of trip were in the 70s. If it wasn’t for the freezing-cold water, I probably wouldn’t even have been wearing a shirt. The Rev proved remarkably breathable, though, and did an excellent job shedding water when I took big splashes over the bow of my boat. Between the snug neck & wrist gaskets and the cinchable neoprene waist, the dry-top mated nicely with a kayak sprayskirt to keep me bone-dry.
The weather continued to improve throughout the trip, and I ended up shoving the top into a dry-bag on the deck of my boat most days. It packed up small and was convenient to stow away—out of sight, out of mind. Until the last day. We woke up to overcast skies and a chilly drizzle. With 15 miles of paddling, and some of the biggest whitewater still ahead, I threw on the dry-top and pulled the waist tight. Snug and cozy under my PFD, I spent the day reveling in the last precious hours of our trip, rather than shivering uncontrollably and wishing the takeout was five miles earlier—which would’ve been the inevitable result without the Rev.
Back home, I made sure to rub the gaskets down with 303 Protectant (recommended by NRS) to keep them supple. Cleaning the fabric of Gore-Tex garments is also crucial to maintaining longevity, however I didn’t get mine very dirty or muddy, so I’ll push that down the road ’til next spring.
On a sizing note, I’d recommend going on the larger side to leave ample room for arm mobility. The shoulder and arms are cut a little loose, but it can’t hurt to have slightly more wiggle room. I’m 6’ 2”, and an XL was the perfect size. My brother is 5’ 11”, and he was rocking the same Rev in a size L, and it fit him well.